By Gilberto Aguilar
Product and Test Engineering Manager, Texas Instruments
I was born in San Salvador on November 23, 1959. I lived there until I was 26 years old, when my passion for electronics brought me to the U.S. Both of my parents were teachers, so my two brothers, sister, and I all understood the importance of education early on.
My engineering “calling” came when I was seven-years-old and was shocked as I rewired Christmas lights. I can still recall the bright green and white flash in my face, the shock, and being thrown back a few feet.
This curiosity followed me and while in high school, my parents gave me an opportunity to participate in an Exchange Student program with the U.S. When I was 16-years-old, I spent one year in Scottsdale, Arizona and lived with a wonderful American family. This formative experience helped me learn English and allowed me to be considered for better opportunities once I entered the workforce.
I was accepted to Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas into the Electrical Engineering department for college. During these years, civil unrest in El Salvador was continuing to grow. Army raids, shootouts, and even bombing of some student union buildings were part of my college experience. The encouragement and tremendous care of my parents helped me maintain the focus and determination to complete my studies.
While in college, working on projects, I got in touch with a neighbor who worked in one of the most technologically advanced companies in the world: Texas Instruments. As I visited their facilities, I had a great desire to work with a company like that. The year I graduated, TI was expanding production in El Salvador. I got an interview with several managers and landed a job at TI.
In 1985, TI announced the shutdown of the TI El Salvador plant. Only eleven engineers from TI were offered jobs in the U.S. I felt fortunate to be one of them and was happy to accept this new challenge.
Certainly, in many ways, my wife and I have embraced this nation that has so much embraced us as well. In 2000, we proudly became citizens of the United States of America. We do this not so much to renounce our heritage, but to bring in our grain of salt to this great diverse nation, as we continue to pursue our American Dream.